As I get ready to launch Your Writers Group 2.0, the broader community/training site that's taken many months to produce, I've been researching a lot of great sites and programs for writing and generally thoughtful reading. There's a ton of great stuff out there for free.
What I think is missing is balanced help on NOT publishing too soon–on writing, editing, and working out the story as best you can before charging ahead with the publishing packages.
And I think one of the best things you can find is a supportive community to help you gauge where you are relative to others in the business, and how your writing is stacking up so far. Several folks I respect have said it takes a few years and much writing before you're really ready to say anything unique and say it well. This is the very idea behind Your Writers Group 2.0. (Coming soon! Wink! Wink!)
So I was excited to stumble upon L.L. Barkat's discussion of "anchor communities" at The High Calling as a way to filter the online experience into more productive, rewarding time. It couldn't have come at a better time.
This is the sort of site I'm creating for bookish folks, mainly writers, but also readers, and generally those who love excellent "true" stories. Yes I'm using quotes on "true" because, as I've discussed here before, "it’s possible to tell an accurate story that isn’t actually true" (this is a quote from another great article at The High Calling on the power of story). And we need to talk about other ideas as well, like the practical realities of writing and selling stories as vocation, not to mention thinking honestly about the larger goal of culture making. Anyway, thanks to The High Calling for already having put many of these guiding principles I'm using into action.
My new site is essentially a place where I'll spout off and pontificate about the new book world emerging and yet to come. I'm taking a leap of faith to see if I can survive (my wife is fully behind me on this, trust me) by offering my best training for a fraction of what it'd cost to hire out a big book editor as a consultant on your work. I've found some people can and do need the one-on-one, but I figure if you can get my best motivation and advice at about 80% off the cost of a writers conference–and it lasts all month!–that's got to work. The bonus is that you can grow and learn from the community in the pursuit of excellent books and true stories. All of this has got to lead to better books with better chances of catching on and selling well, right?
If there's one thing I've found over and over in my 10+ years in book land, it's that you can't really make a book work without a whole lot of help from friends. So I'm heading back to work on that release now, but I just wanted you to know I haven't forgotten about the big dream here. It's coming. And it's going to be truly something cool.
Keep writing. Keep reading every day. Get back into your story world and spend the time. I'll be back soon.